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Waking up feeling dizzy and nauseated, I departed with the group from Lhasa and headed southwest to Rikaze, with a stopover at Yamdrok Lake. The whole ride should have been on the 318 country road, but it was under construction, so we had to detour for nearly 9 hours over a pass that reached 5560 meters. It was the first really tough day during the journey.
Just half an hour away from Lhasa city, the scenery became distinctly different. One side of the road was covered in rock mountains, while you could see a wide river reflecting the sunshine and tall yellow populuses' all along on the other side.
After passing a small Tibetan village, we entered the mountain area through steep, winding roads. The narrow roads, like white belts, twisted and turned in and out of the valleys, without an end. Our guide said pointed out a white house on that top of the mountain and said, "That’s our destination!" It looked so near, but it seemed to take forever to take us there. The bus proceeded slowly on steep slope, and it’s dangerous when encountering another vehicle at the sharp corner, which made me very nervous but excited all the way up.
Almost 2 hours passed, and just after turning one last corner, a piece of dark blue suddenly showed in front of us, and everyone in the bus was in awe. We had reached Yamdrok Lake, extraordinary tranquil, lying high among the mountains, and I found all the sickness I suffered was worthwhile. Again, “unreal” is only word I was murmuring at the moment (perhaps another word – breathtaking – was also appropriate, since I was lacking oxygen). I've added a picture above rather than using hundreds of words to describe it to you.
We took photos from various view, or just stared at the lake idly. We stayed there for nearly one hour and were reluctant to leave, but our guide kept pushing us to move on. The sacred lake split into many wide or narrow streams, which accompanied us along the road down. We took a good rest and fed ourselves well at Langkaze. At 6pm, we arrived at Rikaze city. It’s smaller than Lhasa, but still had many different kinds of stores, super markets, restaurants, internet bars, etc. Most of residences here are from Sichuan or Gansu Provinces. For food, I recommend “Guo Ji Rou” restaurant which has delicious noodle soup and spicy chicken.
Stay tuned for my next piece about our visit to the Tashilhunpo Monastery near Rikaze city, and then the rest of our journey southwest to the foot of Qomolangma.